No NaNoWriMo here, but…

NaNoWriMo? Hard to help reading about it, given the number of would-be novelists among libloggers.

I’m certainly not making fun of the idea. Quite the opposite: I think there’s a lot to be said for just giving it one big try, devil take the details; go for a short novel over the course of a month. Then look at the results, see what worked, see what didn’t, see whether fiction writing is your thing–and proceed from there.

Thing is: I’m already pretty certain that I don’t have a future as a fiction writer or novelist. I tried short fiction as a teenager (and should have saved the very kind, not form, rejection letter from John W. Campbell, but didn’t). The writing was OK, the plots were mediocre, and the character development…well, a long-term friend who knows me too well nailed it when she said I’m just not observant enough. Not then, not now, not likely to be in the future. I respect good fiction writing. I respect good musicianship. Respect doesn’t mean I anticipate doing it, though.

Is there a NaNonWriMo for taking on a book-length nonfiction project with the goal to complete a first draft in a month? Probably not, and that’s not nearly as interesting, but I’d almost like to give it a try. Currently, I have four–no, make that five–book ideas. I could probably do a first draft of any of them in a month or so, if I abandoned all other writing. So far, that hasn’t made sense. But in the back of my mind…

[These are, as it happens, all book ideas where I believe PoD self-publishing would be the only realistic approach; I’d be surprised if any of them had the potential for the 1,200-or-so sales to make sense for a commercial library publisher. Nor would I be ready to go through that production cycle for these ideas, even though the editing would improve the results.

Will any of the five get written eventually? Probably. Will they all? Probably not, and probably just as well.

Meanwhile, C&I amounts to around 20,000 words per recent issue, That’s nowhere near “writing 50,000 words in one month.”]

4 Responses to “No NaNoWriMo here, but…”

  1. kim says:

    This is a very interesting view of NaNoWriMo, my views are slightly less polite.

  2. walt says:

    I’m charitable because I believe there are creative spirits out there who’ve stalled before they really start. That’s easy to do: A book-length project doesn’t just happen. For some of them, this one-month fling can unlock the gates. Then, if they have any sense, they can go back and see what it all means, and probably start over (or retain pieces of what they’ve done for later use).

    Will most of the short novels be unpublishable? Most likely, but I don’t think that’s the point of the exercise.

    Freewriting has never worked for me, but I can certainly see its virtues. NaNoWriMo is freewriting taken to its (logical?) extreme.

  3. CW says:

    When I think about NaNoWriMo, one word comes to mind: “TORTURE”.

  4. Kirsten says:

    NaNoWriMo is a very satisfying, although grueling, experience. I’ve done it three times and “won” twice. Haven’t published either of those books, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go back to them someday. And if I neevr do, that’s OK — I wanted to know for myself if I could do it, and I could.

    It’s particularly good for writers who are blocked, or for people who always thought they might like to write but were too shy, inhibited, etc. The moral support you get through the website is great — it’s a big part of anyone’s success.